EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 5, 2013

Sports in a minute

Christopher Smith
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — INSPIRATIONAL TD RUN

Google Ryan Encinas’ name and you’ll find a heartwarming story about a 5-year-old who has been in remission for two years after being diagnosed with a tumor in his left lung when he was just. The Cleveland Browns let Encinas run for a 40-yard touchdown during their Family Night practice Saturday in front of 24,131 fans.

BRUINS VIDEOS

All Bruins fans should check out bostonbruins.com for interesting offseason “Bear Tracks” videos with players, including newcomer Jarome Iginla who is shown training on and off the ice in British Columbia.

DID YOU KNOW?

New Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles in January 2009 and spent time on the team’s practice squad before being signed by the St. Louis Rams to their 53-man roster in September 2009?

BEST SPORTS DAY?

What is the best sports day of the year?

I’ve heard this question debated on a couple of different sports radio talk shows recently. The most common answers: MLB Opening Day, Thanksgiving with high school football followed by NFL games, the NFL’s Championship Sunday (AFC and NFC title games), the final day of the Masters and Super Bowl Sunday.

My favorite though is the first day of the Major League Baseball postseason. I’ve always loved this day — and it’s even better now with the two do-or-die Wild Card playoff games.

WRIGHT TO MAKE START

Red Sox rookie knuckleballer Steven Wright will make a spot start tomorrow in Houston to give each Boston starting pitcher an extra day of rest. The starters also will receive an extra day with next Monday being an off day. It will be Wright’s first major league start. He has pitched in three games out of the bullpen in two different stints with Boston this year. Over his past two outings, he has pitched 8.2 scoreless innings.

“Just more consistent strike throwing compared to where he was in spring training from a delivery standpoint,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said about Wright’s improvement. “Just repeating his release point.

“And I think he’s starting to throw that knuckleball where he’s changing speeds on it,” Farrell said. “To me, in some ways he looks like a completely different pitcher than (his first major league game April 23) to what he’s been doing the last two outings. It’s a much improved Steven Wright.”

RED SOX AND ASTROS

The Red Sox and Houston Astros play a three-game series starting tonight. Here are the pitching matchups:

Today: Boston RHP John Lackey (7-8, 3.23 ERA) vs. Houston LHP Brett Oberholtzer (1-0, 3.77 ERA), 8:10 p.m.

Tomorrow: Boston RHP Steven Wright (2-0, 3.65) vs. Houston RHP Jordan Lyles (4-5, 4.91 ERA), 8:10 p.m.

Wednesday: Boston RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.54 ERA) vs. Houston RHP Jarred Cosart (1-0, 0.96 ERA), 8:10 p.m.

DOUBLE-A DEBUT

Red Sox pitching prospect, LHP Henry Owens, made his Double-A debut for Portland Red Sox on Saturday and earned the win. The 21-year-old went 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out 11 batters. Owens went 8-5 with a 2.92 ERA and .180 batting average against in 20 starts for Single-A Salem before his promotion.

Follow Eagle-Tribune reporter Christopher Smith on Twitter @SmittyOnMLB.